Dr. Anthony (Tony) Vincent Nero, Jr. passed away Oct. 13, resident of Rehoboth Beach.
Tony was known professionally as an intellect, scientist, and philanthropist although he still recalled his memories of growing up on a farm outside of Laurel with fondness and humor.
Tony was born eldest of five children and worked on the farm and in the family restaurant in Delmar as a small child. He attended St. Frances de Sales Catholic School in Salisbury and graduated from Archmere Academy as valedictorian and president of the debate club. Tony went on to follow his passion for science, winning scholarships and awards at Fordham University in NY, Stanford University in CA, and finally his Doctorate at Princeton University in NJ while teaching physics full time. He moved back to CA after being offered a position at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories where he retired as Co-Director of LBL. Tony focused on nuclear energy and groundbreaking work in radon and its effects on humans which spearheaded many of the EPA standards used today. In 1989, he was awarded the Leo Szilard Award to ‘recognize outstanding accomplishments by physicists in promoting the use of physics for the benefit of society in such areas as environment, arms control, and science policy.’
On a personal level, Tony was known for dry humor, wit, and love of the arts. During his younger years, he was an enthusiastic mountain climber and sailor. He loved spending time in the mountains of New Mexico at his cabin. He collected friends worldwide but none more beloved than his close friends, housemates, and colleagues in Berkeley, CA where he was known to be ‘the host’ for potlucks and themed back yard parties for 40 years before moving, during the pandemic, to live next to his sister in Rehoboth Beach.
During his last months, Tony found joy in new activities with a surprising talent coming in playing the harmonica. After thoroughly explaining that his two harmonicas were distinctly different with C verses D, Tony entertained fellow assisted living residents with Christmas carols for hours in September. When the nursing aid asked him if his other harmonica played something other than Christmas carols, he gave her a small smile, picked it up and played her an old non-Christmas hymn.
Tony was preceded in death by his parents, Antonio (Tony) Nero and Anna Elizabeth Coladonato Nero and his brothers, Robert Theodore (Ted) Nero and Eugene Nichols Nero. He is survived by his youngest brother, Daniel Jude Nero (wife Dona Rose Nero) Medford, NJ; sister, Annette Maria Nero Stellhorn (husband Rick Stellhorn) Rehoboth Beach; nephews Alex Vincent Landing (Beth) TN, Todd M. Stellhorn Saigon, Vietnam, Tim C. Stellhorn (Mary Ellen) Lusaka, Zambia, Vincenzo Santo Nero Medford, NJ, Gabrielle Elizabeth Nero, Gibbsboro, NJ, and Angelique Nero, Camden, NJ; five great nieces and nephews and friends around the country.
A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, Nov. 18 in Rehoboth Beach and Jan. 28 in Berkeley, CA. For more information, email email@example.com.
Tony was a life-long philanthropist supporting scientists, artists, musicians, and family members for years along with supporting local cultural organizations, environmental concerns, and women’s rights. Donations in Tony’s name can be made to the American Physical Society (www.aps.org), Grow the Forest (www.sempervirens.org), DE Waterways (www.inlandbays.org), or a nonprofit of your choice.
Arrangements are in the care of Short Funeral Home in Delmar. Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.shortfh.com.